Makes your mouth water a little bit, doesn’t it? I was at the Bondi Farmers Market this last weekend, acting as the in-house photographer (yep, I work for the folks that run the markets at Bondi Beach & Manly Beach on weekends, it’s a great gig!), and of course had to avail myself on all of the awesome veggies and breads and goodies there. It was a great market, and I don’t say that lightly! One of the best features of my home town in Canada is its tightly knit community, which in the summer seems to revolve around the local farmers market. I’ve grown up on fresh produce and market goods, and it was difficult to reconcile myself to second rate stuff at grocery stores when I moved away for university.
Fortunately, the Foodie Revolution means that farmers markets are cropping up everywhere and flourishing too. Have you noticed this? In both Sydney and Vancouver, the two cities I’ve lived in most recently, organizations are working hard to get these markets off the ground and to be the centres of their community. I think that this will certainly happen in Bondi—this oh-so-famous part of Sydney is chock full of folks who know what’s good for themselves and for the environment. Yay Bondi! There were hundreds of people at the markets this Saturday and I hope that it stays as busy for all the Saturdays to come.
What fell into my bag? Some organic carrots, a few chocolate croissants, a delicious fruit and nut loaf, and some wholewheat flour stone-ground by hand the day before I bought it, by the man who handed me the bag (yes!). It smells like heaven and I can’t wait to get baking with it. Seriously, life just doesn’t get better than a good farmers market!
While this leg of lamb is sadly not from the farmers market, it is a darn good recipe for a Sunday afternoon roast. (Which should totally come back into fashion, by the way—talk about a little effort for a lot of food!) So read on…
Roast Leg of Lamb
Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine Issue 53, p. 148
Serves: 4-5, with some leftovers
Cooking time: 30 minutes hands on
- 1 leg or shoulder of lamb, about 1.5 kg
- 1 head of garlic, cloves separated and most of the skin removed
- handful of sprigs of fresh thyme
- 3 large carrots
- 2-3 large potatoes
- 2 cups white wine (replace with broth if desired)
- 1 cup broth (vegetable or whatever you have in your cupboard)
- olive oil, salt, and pepper
Preheat oven to 500 F / 250 C. Grease a large baking dish and place your leg of lamb into it. Peel and chop vegetables into large chunks, about 1.5″ or 3 cm thick at most. Distribute around the meat, and poke the garlic into the gaps as well. Pour in the white wine and the broth. Drizzle everything with olive oil (probably use around 5-6 tbsp or more, be generous), and sprinkle well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place 4-5 sprigs of thyme onto the roast and tear up another one or two around the vegetables.
Cover the baking dish with tin foil, and place in preheated oven. Reduce temperature to 325 F / 160 C and roast for 4 hours, or slightly longer if your lamb is larger. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before carving.
Your lamb is ready when you carve into it and it’s just lightly pink on the inside—see above. If you like your meat well-done, cook it for another 20-30 minutes or so.
Donna Hay recommends serving with a red onion salsa and a spinach artichoke salad, which I did and it was amazing: finely chop 1 small red onion, 1/2 bunch mint leaves, and mix with one or two glugs each of olive oil and red wine vinegar. Add a pinch each of salt, pepper, and sugar. Set aside for at least an hour to let flavours blend. For the salad, mix together 5-6 generous handfuls of baby spinach leaves with a small container of coarsely chopped, store-bought artichoke hearts. Slice up about a 4″ or 10 cm chunk of cucumber and add. Generously shave about 60 g (2 oz) parmesean or pecorino cheese over top, and crumble in a bit of feta. Yum!
The next day, consider making wraps with any leftovers—be generous with Greek yoghurt, the salsa, camembert, and extra mint and cucumber. Double yum!